Intermittent Explosive Disorder


a General Overview:

Intermittent explosive disorder involves angry verbal outbursts, or on going, repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive behavior , aggressive behavior, violent behavior in which a person reacts excessively and a out of proportion reaction to a given situation. Some these examples are: Road rage, domestic abuse, throwing things, and or breaking things, and or other types of temper tantrums could be signs of intermittent explosive disorder.

These intermittent explosive outbursts may cause the person and his or her loved ones significant distress, may destroy relationships, work and school, and they can have serious legal and financial repercussions.

Intermittent explosive disorder can be a life long disorder that can go on for years, although the seriousness and the degree of outbursts may go down with age. Treatment may involve medications, talk therapy/psychotherapy to help a person to control his or her aggressive impulses.

Symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder:

Explosive out breaks may occur suddenly, with very little or no warning signs, and possibly may even last less than 30 minutes. These explosive episodes may occur frequently or sometimes separated by weeks or months of nonaggression. Less serious verbal outbursts may occur in between Intermittent explosive disorder episodes of physical aggression. One may be impulsive, aggressive, irritated, or chronically angry most of the day and night.

Aggressive and impulsive episodes may be followed or accompanied by:

  • Chest tightness, chest pain.
  • Impulsivity, Irritability.
  • Increased energy due to extreme anger.
  • Rapid, and racing thoughts.
  • Tingling feelings.
  • Shaking, tremors.
  • Heart palpitations.
  • Rage, and anger.

The explosive and aggressive verbal and behavioral outbursts are usually blown out of proportion regardless of the situation, with no thought of consequences, and may include:

  • Threatening and or assaulting people and or animals.
  • Physical fights.
  • Shouting.
  • Heated arguments.
  • Slapping, shoving or pushing due for no good reason.
  • A prolonged outbursts, being bitter, outspoken denunciations.
  • Property damage.
  • Temper tantrums.

One may feel a sense of relief at times and tiredness at other times after an explosive episode. After words one may even feel sorrow, remorse, regret and embarrassment.

When Does One Needs to Professional Help:

If an individual recognize their own behavior to be the description of intermittent explosive disorder, one needs to talk with a psycho-therapist regarding treatment options or ask their medical doctor for a referral to a psychiatrist.

What Causes Intermittent Explosive Disorder Symptoms:

Intermittent explosive disorder can start in childhood, possibly after the age of six years or during the difficult teenage years. This is more seen in young adults rather than in the elderly. No one is sure of the exact cause of this disorder, but it could be caused by different environmental and biological issues.

  • Environmental: Most individuals with this disorder grown up in families that where explosive in behavior and words, where physical fights were very normal. Being exposed to this type of explosive violence at a young age can make kids exhibit the same explosive behavior as they get older.
  • Genetics: Genetics is always a factor. There may be a genetic link, causing this disorder to be passed down from parents to their children.
  • Differences in how the brain works: There could be some differences in the structure, the function and the chemistry of the brain of the people with intermittent explosive disorder compared to others who don’t have this disorder.

Risk factors of Intermittent Explosive Disorder:

These risk factors are increased when it comes to the risk of developing intermittent explosive disorder:

  • History of physical abuse: The individuals who were abused as children or have experienced more than one traumatic event have more chances of developing intermittent explosive disorder.
  • History of other mental health disorders: Individuals who already have antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder or other disorders that include disruptive abnormal behaviors, such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), might already have intermittent explosive disorder.

Complications of Intermittent Explosive Disorder:

Person’s with intermittent explosive disorder have an increased risk of:

  • Impaired interpersonal relationships: They’re often seen by others as always being upset and angry so they might stay away from them. They may have many verbal fights and or be physically abusive. These abusive actions can and will cause relationship problems, separation, divorce and family issues.
  • Trouble at work, home or school: Other problems associated to intermittent explosive disorder may also include loss of work, getting suspended from school, automobile accidents, financial issues and or getting in trouble with the law.
  • Problems with mood: Moodiness, mood disorders such as anxiety, and depression usually occurs with intermittent explosive disorder.
  • Problems with alcohol and other substances : Drug and or alcohol addiction/abuse often occurs with intermittent explosive disorder.
  • Physical, medical health problems: Medical problems are more usual and may include: ulcers, chronic pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart disease and stroke.
  • Self-harm: Intentional self injuring behavior or suicide attempts could occur.

Prevention Could Save Lives and Relationships:

If one already has intermittent explosive disorder, prevention is the best solution by getting treatment from a mental health professional. A Combination of talk therapy, medication therapy and these suggestions may help a person prevent some incidents from getting worst and getting out of control:

  • One needs to stick with to their treatment plan.: Attending all therapy sessions, learning and practicing coping skills, and taking their prescribed medications correctly. The prescribing doctor may suggest maintenance medications to stop recurrence of explosive episodes and behavior.
  • Practicing relaxation techniques: Constant practice of calm deep breathing, self relaxing by imagery and or tai chi, yoga may help a person stay more relaxed.
  • Developing new ways of thinking (cognitive self restructuring): Altering the way one thinks about a bad situation by having reasonable expectations, rational thoughts, and logic may improve how a person views and reacts to a frustrating event.
  • Using problem-solving techniques: Making a plan to find a better way to solve a bad problem. Even if one can’t fix the problem immediately, having a good plan can improve the out come.
  • Learning ways to improve ones communication: Listening to what others are saying, or trying are trying to share, and then thinking about the best answer rather than exploding and saying the first thing that that comes to mind.
  • Changing ones environment: When it’s possible, one should leave and or avoid a bad situations from getting worst. Also, finding personal time may enable a person to get a better handle on things, and getting ready for an upcoming and a stressful event and or a bad situation.
  • Avoid mood-altering substances: Staying sober and away from illegal drugs, alcohol, and or even caffeine. Staying legal.

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